2005-06 At A Glance Dark Blue: Average Offensive Efficiency For Season Pink: Average Defensive Efficiency For Season Yellow: Five Game Moving Average Offensive Efficiency For Season Light Blue: Five Game Moving Average Defensive Efficiency For Season 1.20 UK v Opponents, 2005-06 Ky. Avg. PPP Opp. Avg. PPP Ky. 5 Game Avg. PPP Opp. 5 Game Avg. PPP 1.00 0.80 Points Per Possession 0.60 0.40 0.20 0.00 0 5 10 15 20Game Number25 30 35 40 45 To See similar graphical presentations for 1996, and 2000 through 2005 Click Here NGE 0.046 Points Per Possession In 2005-06 By J. Richard Cheeks “The Professor” Five games into the 2005-06 season, Kentucky 's offensive efficiency settled into its basic position for the entire season. As this graph illustrates, the average Offensive Efficiency after 6 games 0.91 points per possession, and at season's end, the average offensive efficiency stood at 0.89 ppp. As the Yellow, Five-game moving average illustrates, Kentucky withstood and enjoyed sustained periods of poorer and better than average offensive efficiency. Essentially, from game 11 through game 20, the offensive performance was substantially below this season average, and from games 21 through the end of the season, the offensive efficiency was substantially above the season average. As the game-to-game performances either fell s hort of or exceed the average, the average would track eithe r down or up in marginal ways. Between the fifth and last games, the average offensive efficiency hit its low point at 0.86 ppp following the Alabama loss. The offensive efficiency peaked for the season at 0.93 following the Georgia State game. Kentucky’s defensive performance during the 2005-06 season demonstrates a significantly different pattern. At game 5, Kentucky has established an average defensive efficiency of 0.67 ppp, a truly outstanding value. If Kentucky could maintain that early season level of defensive play, as it did with its offensive play, then Kentucky would establish a Net Game Efficiency for the Season of about 0.23 ppp. A Net Game Efficiency above 0.23 ppp is sufficient to contend for the National Championship. However, the 0.67 ppp defensive efficiency after five games would be the low water mark for the 2005-06 Cats at the defensive end. After game 5, Kentucky’s defensive efficiency steadily climbed to a season ending, and season high 0.84 ppp following the loss at Vande rbilt. Following that Vande rbilt loss, the defensive efficiency stabilized and fluctuated between 0.84 and 0.83 over the final 11 games of the season, ending the year at the maximum, 0.84 ppp level. Commentators have been eager to point out that Kentucky’s non-conference schedule for 2004-05 was significantly weaker than usual. However, conference play coupled with the usual regular opponents like Iowa, West Virginia, Indiana, Iona, Louisville , UNC, and Kansas means the Kentucky schedule strength, as measured by the NCAA RPI SOS value remained relatively constant from the end of non- confe rence play to the end of the season. Kentucky 's Strength of Schedule was, which is in fact at the low end, but within the pe rformances of recent years at 0.5819, #15 for 2006 [0.5684, #11 in 2005; 0.5995, #2 in 2004; 0.5774, #1 in 2003; 0.5993, #12 in 2002; 0.5961, #10 in 2001; and 0.6170, #4 in 2000] and the average SOS for the previous five seasons was 0.5853, #8. Given the similarity of the final schedule strength values in 2005 as compared to the preceding 5 seasons leads me to conclude that the 2005-06 schedule strength was not significantly lowe r than UK’s recent history. Based on these results, I reach the following conclusions about the 2005-06 season. 1. Since the quality of Kentucky’s opponents remained relatively constant throughout the season, Kentucky’s offensive performance experienced two defining segments. First, the offense performed poorly during a significant portion of the non-conference schedule, and the first fe w SEC games, and then the offense performed ve ry well for the re mainder of the season. 2. Since the quality of Kentucky’s opponents remained relatively constant throughout the season, Kentucky’s defense performed poorly all season long. 3. Kentucky 's disappointing finish is due primarily to declining defensive play that became even poorer after the team’s level of offensive performance increased to the low 0.9+ range. 4. This combination of offensive and defensive performance on the year produced the lowest season long Net Game Efficiency [0.046 ppp] of the Tubby Smith e ra and the losest NGE since Rick Pitino’s first team, which was coming off of Sutton’s pitiful losing record during his last season at UK. This UK team was fortunate to receive a precious at –large bid to the 2006 NCAA tourname nt, securing that bid on its next to last regular season game with a narrow road victory over Tennessee. However, UK was not able to sustain a run into the tourname nt, falling to Connecticut in the Round of 32. To regain a competitive status on the national level, Kentucky simply must improve its overall offensive and defensive performances. The 2005-06 NCAA D1 average offensive and defensive efficiencies are 0.86 ppp. At 0.89, UK exceeds the mean by less than 30% of the margin required to achieve greatness offensively, e.g. 0.96 ppp or above. On defense, Kentucky 's season ending 0.84 ppp is less than 20% of the margin from the mean a team needs for championship caliber defensive play, e.g. 0.76 or lower.